Frequently Asked Questions
are the sizing capacities of heating and
cooling systems measured?
The heating and cooling systems are sized
according to their tonnage. One (1) ton
equals 12,000 BTU/H. Residential systems can
range from 1 to 5 tons.
What size HVAC system should I have?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule
of thumb for sizing a system to a home.
Depending upon the construction of your
home, one (1) ton of heating and/or air
conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to
800 square feet of home. The only way to
insure the size of the system you purchase
will be large enough to heat and/or cool
your home, but not any larger than you need,
is to have your home's individual heating
and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed
How is the efficiency of heating and cooling
H.S.P.F. (heating seasonal performance
factor) is the most commonly used measure of
a heat pumps heating efficiency. H.S.P.F.
represents the total heating output of a
heat pump (including supplementary electric
heat) during the normal heating season (in
Btu) as compared to the total electricity
consumed (in watt-hours) during the same
period H.S.P.F. numbers start at 7.8
(systems older than 4 year are likely less)
and go above 9.0
the H.S.P.F., the more efficient the heat
pump. Unlike S.E.E.R the heating seasonal
performance factor can change drastically
with the various combinations of indoor
units and coils.
(seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the
amount of cooling your system will deliver
per dollar spent on electricity. For
example, a 3-ton unit may have a S.E.E.R.
efficiency rating of 13, 14, or 15. The
higher the S.E.E.R. the more efficient the
system will be. The S.E.E.R. rating of any
given unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17.
How can I increase the efficiency and life
of my home's heating and cooling systems?
The most important thing you can do is clean
and replace your filters frequently. Also, a
system heats and cools more evenly when the
blower is in the "on" position. The blower
provides constant air movement throughout
the home, and allows for better filtration.
Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or
screens should be installed on windows that
are exposed to extreme sunlight.
a system with more capacity better?
No. A larger system with more capacity
delivers less comfort and costs more to
operate. Your system is at its least
efficient when first turning on. A system
with too much capacity will run in numerous
short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly,
therefore causing it to be less efficient.
Also keep in mind that an air conditioner
only removes humidity when it's running, so
a system with shorter run cycles doesn't
remove humidity from the air very well.
How long should my system run in a cycle?
There is no exact answer for how long your
system should run during each cycle. The
average system is sized to remove the heat
from your home as fast as it comes in, on a
85° day. Therefore, ideally, on a 85° day
the system should be able to keep up with
the incoming heat, but not gain on it and be
able to turn off. The cooler it is below
85°, the more the system will cycle on and
off. Same applies as it gets colder on
average we design the systems to heat your
home at 23°. As the temperature rises above
83° or falls below 23° you will likely start
to see longer run times
until the unit runs continually and the system will not reach
the temperature on the thermostat. The
Washington State Energy Code requires we
size our system based on local design
temperature such as the above to heat a home
to 70° and cool to 78°.
Should I try to keep my system from running
Every time your system starts up, it will
use a lot of electricity and not produce
much heating or cooling. Usually a system
that is too small to cool the home is more
economical to run but delivers less comfort.
Even though it runs nonstop, it will usually
consume less power than a larger system that
cycles on and off. As a rule of thumb, a
unit that is either on or off is less
expensive than one cycling on and off.
During the heating season, my heat pump
delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will
operate for long periods of time. Is that
Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally
produces air that is 80°, which is
considered warm, and will heat the house
evenly. However, 80° may feel cool to your
hand, which is usually closer to 90°.
What temperature should I set my thermostat?
Obviously the time of year becomes a big
factor for desired temperature settings. In
the summer months the average temperature
setting is 78°-80°, in the winter 70°-72°
seems to be the most common setting.
Remember, when leaving your house, try to
avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not
set your temperature back more than 5°; this
will cause your unit to work harder to
achieve the desired temperature setting.
What are the advantages of a programmable
Different programmable thermostats offer
many different features. However, because
they are electronic, they are all more
accurate and efficient than thermostats that
contain mercury. With programmable
thermostats you can control the temperature
in your home at different times of day
without ever touching your thermostat.
Because everything is automatic, you will
never forget to change the setting on your
How often should I replace my filters?
For optimum efficiency and filtration, we
recommend that you replace your disposable
filters at least once a month. If you have
washable filters, they should be cleaned
once a month.
What maintenance should I do on my out door
The most important maintenance you can do is
to change your filters regularly. Ground
mounted outdoor units need to be kept clear
of debris, clutter; weeds or landscaping
that can grow too close and reduce the
airflow to the unit. Also, keep pets away
from the unit because pet urine can cause
expensive damage. Use caution with a weed
trimmer around the unit to prevent damaging
control wiring. Any additional maintenance
should only be performed by qualified
How often should I have maintenance done on
my Heat Pump?
You should have maintenance done on your
system twice a year. This not only ensures
maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee
any possible problems that may occur in the
near future. Our Energy Saving Agreement (ESA)
plan is specifically designed to keep your
system running at its peak efficiency
Is there anything I should check prior to
calling for service?
Yes. Check to be sure that the air handler
or furnace is plugged in. Check that the
breakers and the disconnects are turned on
and be sure the thermostat is set correctly.
If you see water on the floor around your
indoor unit during cooling make sure the
condensate drain p-trap has water in it.
How much does a new replacement system cost?
Due to the many different makes, models and
customer needs, price is an issue that can
only be solved by doing a thorough
evaluation of your home and existing
equipment. There is no charge for an
in-house replacement proposal.
Do electronic air cleaners really work?
Yes, they can actually play a big part in
your complete home comfort. We have a
variety of whole-house filtration devices.
Some electronic air cleaners can even remove
dust particles and pollen as small as .10
micron. Visit our products page for more
information about the electronic air
cleaners we offer.
Should I close the registers and doors to
areas of the home that I do not use on a
No. Closing the registers will decrease the
systems' airflow and efficiency. Every
system is designed to cool a certain number
of square feet. By closing registers and
doors in certain rooms, you disrupt the
airflow and cause your air conditioning
system to work harder to distribute air to
other areas of your home. Your system will
work harder, to cool less space, making it
cycle more and become less efficient.
Why are humidifiers used more in heating
When cool outdoor air enters a home it tends
to dry out as it warms up, which increases
the static electricity in the home and
causes sinus problems. Adding a humidifier
with help to add moisture back into the air
and limit sinus problems. In the summer,
even with outdoor relative humidity hovering
around the single digits, the humidity in
your home tends to be around 40%. The
average comfort range for relative humidity
in a home is from 35 to 45%.
What air temperature should my air
The air temperature your system produces
depends on the temperature of the air going
into the system. Generally, the air produced
should be 18°-20° below what enters the
system. So if the air entering the system is
80°, the air exiting should be about
60°-62°. However, that only works on a
system that has been running at least 15
minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that
is about 80° inside. On a mild day, with an
indoor temperature in the low 70's, or
during humid conditions, the air coming out
may only be 15°-17° cooler than what enters.
During the heating season, my heat pump
makes a "whooshing" sound and I feel cool
air coming from the supply registers. Is
do I know if my system unit is big enough?
Yes. During the cold weather months, frost
will accumulate on the outdoor coil. This
will cause the heat pump to go into a
defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes,
depending on the amount of ice on the coil.
The system will return to the heating mode
once the ice is gone.
Before purchasing a replacement system you
should always make sure your system is sized
properly. Our representative will provide a
heat load calculation to determine the
proper size and make the appropriate
recommendation. Remember, bigger is not
TERMS - Not sure what all these technical
words mean? This glossary of terms
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A
measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in
converting fuel to energy the higher the
rating, the more efficient the unit. For
example: A rating of 90 means that
approximately 90 percent of the fuel is used
to provide warmth to your home, while the
remaining 10 percent escapes as exhaust.
British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of
heat it takes to raise one pound of water
one degree Fahrenheit. For your home, it
represents the measure of heat given off
when fuel is burned for heating or the
measure of heat extracted from your home for
Cubic Feet Per Minute. A standard
measurement of airflow. A typical system
requires 400 CFM per ton of air
The output or producing ability of a piece
of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and
heating capacities are referred to on BTUs.
Airflow System An exclusive feature of
a high efficiency home comfort system from
Trane. This method of ramping airflow gives
you greater humidity control in cooling and
provides warmer air during heating start up.
The heart of an air conditioning or heat
pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit
and pumps refrigerant in order to meet the
cooling requirements of the system.
Coil or Outdoor Coil In an air
conditioner, the coil dissipates heat from
the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant
from vapor to liquid. In a heat pump system,
it absorbs heat from the outdoors.
Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens
and closes to control airflow. Dampers can
be used to balance airflow in a duct system.
They are also used in zoning to regulate
airflow to certain rooms.
Pipes or channels that carry air throughout
your home. In a home comfort system,
ductwork is critical to performance in
fact, it's as critical as the equipment.
Coil or Indoor Coil The other half of
your air conditioning system located inside
your home in the indoor unit. This is where
the refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs
heat from the air that passes over the coil.
Furnace Heat Exchanger Located in the
furnace, the heat exchanger transfers heat
to the surrounding air, which is then pumped
throughout your home.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This
rating is used in measuring the heating
efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the
number, the more efficient the unit.
Unit A heating and cooling system
contained in one outdoor unit. A package
unit is typically installed either beside,
on top of the home, or sometimes in the
Refrigerant A chemical that produces a
refrigerating effect while expanding and
vaporizing. Most residential air
conditioning systems contain R-22
refrigerant. R-22 is regulated by
international controls under the Montreal
Protocol and in the United States by the
Environmental Protection Agency. It is
scheduled to be in production until the year
2020. It's used in approximately 95 percent
of air conditioning equipment manufactured
in the U.S. today.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A measure
of cooling efficiency for air conditioners
and heat pumps. The higher the seer, the
more energy efficient the unit. The
government's minimum SEER rating is 10.
(It's similar to comparing miles per gallon
Seasonal Extreme Environmental Test Lab.
This is Trane's torture chamber for heating
and air conditioning systems, where five
years of service are condensed into 16
torturous weeks. If a product doesn't make
it through our SEET lab, it's not
manufactured. We push our equipment to
extremes because we'd rather test them in
our lab than in your home.
System The combination of an outdoor
unit (air conditioner or heat pump) with an
indoor unit (furnace or air handler). Split
systems must be matched for optimum
A thermostat consists of a series of sensors
and relays that monitor and control the
functions of a heating and cooling system.
unit of measurement used for determining
cooling capacity. One ton is the equivalent
of 12,000 BTUs per hour.
A method of dividing a home into different
comfort zones so each zone can be
independently controlled depending on use